The Village Soup reported on the 27th annual Camden Conference. The theme of this year’s conference and accompanying course offered by the University of Maine’s Division of Lifelong Learning was “The Global Politics of Food and Water.” The conference and course aimed to explore water and food security topics from many perspectives around the world as they relate to human life, global climate change and relationships between countries.
University of Maine School of Performing Arts students will perform “Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower” at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Al Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on campus.
Carol Korty, professor emerita at Emerson College and a guest artist at UMaine, wrote and directs the folktale recommended for children 8 and older. It contains themes about getting along with others, intuition, imagination and courage.
Two main characters are Baba Yaga, a wise, feared witch, and Maryushka, a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in. Baba Yaga is a Russian folktale character. She brews magic potions, is rumored to eat misbehaving children and lives in a five-sided talking hut that walks on giant chicken legs. She flies through the deep forest in a giant mortar that she steers with a pestle. Maryushka, who loves nature and is scared of it, has gotten into trouble and is determined to find a way out.
Korty hopes the play captures the essence of a traditional Russian Baba Yaga folktale as well as the feeling that she had and that other adolescents have of living in two different worlds — one with family and one with schoolmates.
During UMaine’s spring break, the cast and crew of “Baba Yaga and the Black Sunflower” will stage free performances at area schools, including in Bangor, Ellsworth, Hermon, Lincoln and Presque Isle. Tickets are available at the door for the March 22 performance at UMaine. Cost is $5 per person, or free with a valid student MaineCard.
A University of Maine professor helped develop an observation protocol that can document college instruction and student learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Michelle Smith, assistant professor in UMaine’s School of Biology and Ecology and a member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, designed the classroom observation protocol with three researchers from the University of British Columbia.
Over a two-year period, Smith and her colleagues developed, tested and validated the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) by which observers document instructor and student behaviors in two-minute intervals during the class period.
“Many observation protocols ask observers to rate instructor quality, but the COPUS focuses on how students and instructors are spending the time,” says Smith.
The resulting data, which can be put into pie chart form, informs professors of their behaviors and the behaviors of students during class. The information is valuable in light of research that indicates undergraduate college students learn more in courses with active-engagement instruction.
A total of 13 student behaviors are documented, including listening to instructor/taking notes, working in groups, answering a question with the rest of the class listening, and engaging in whole class discussion.
A total of 12 instructor behaviors are codified, include lecturing, asking a clicker question, listening to and answering student questions with class listening, guiding ongoing student work during active learning task, and one-on-one extended discussion with one or a few individuals.
Educators can use the information to better understand how they utilize classroom time, as well as identify possible professional development needs. Observation data can also be used to supplement faculty tenure/promotion documentation, Smith says.
Several Maine middle and high school teachers helped Smith and her colleagues test and modify the protocol. “The local teachers were enormously helpful,” says Smith. “They are very dedicated to partnering with UMaine to enhance the STEM education experience for all students.”
The researchers’ article, “The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): A New Instrument to Characterize University STEM Classroom Practices,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of CBE-Life Sciences Education. The article was highlighted as an Editor’s Choice in the Feb. 7, 2014 edition of Science magazine.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine students in an advanced art education course are facilitating an art-making and fundraising project to benefit the Shaw House of Bangor, an organization that works with youth who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. The art education students are helping the Shaw House teens make ceramic pins that will then be sold to buy instruments for the many residents who take music lessons from the staff and volunteers. Constant Albertson, an associate professor of art education who teaches the class, said the course helps students develop service learning projects for when they become art teachers. Julie Roach, a student in the class, said the project is a great way to incorporate art and community together.
The Village Soup advanced the March 11 University of Maine Singers concert that will take place at the Owls Head Transportation Museum. The show is one of five free public concerts the group is performing in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts over spring break. The Maine Edge also carried a report on the group’s tour.
The Maine Edge previewed the University of Maine Department of Art’s inaugural Wyeth Family Heritage Lecture to be held Feb. 27 in Lord Hall. David Pariser, an art education professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, will deliver an illustrated talk titled “The Juvenile Work of World-class Artists: Can we tell from their work that these children are bound for glory?” His lecture will focus on the development of childhood graphic skills and the juvenile work of famous artists, including the Wyeths.
Faculty and graduate students in the University of Maine’s History Department will offer an informal History Lab to provide one-on-one support for students, teachers and parents who are working on a National History Day (NHD) research project.
The drop-in History Lab will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5 in the computer classroom on the first floor of UMaine’s Fogler Library. Faculty and graduate students also will be available to talk about historical research, local resources and current developments in historical scholarship. Anyone interested in history — whether local, regional, national or global — is welcome to attend.
National History Day (NHD) is an academic program and competition for students in grades 6–12 that promotes critical thinking, research and presentation skills through project-based learning for students of all abilities. More than 500,000 students, working with thousand of teachers, annually participate in the national contest.
Students choose historical topics related to a theme — this year it’s “Rights and Responsibilities in History” — and conduct extensive research before creating projects in the form of exhibits, documentaries, dramatic performances, papers and websites, to present at the statewide competition. The projects are evaluated by professional historians and educators.
A new partnership between UMaine and the Margaret Chase Smith Library will bring the Maine National History Day competition to the university campus Saturday, April 12, for the first time since the national program began in 1980. Winners from the state competitions are then able to compete in the national contest in Washington, D.C. during June 2014.
For more information about the History Lab, including how to obtain a campus parking permit and request a disability accommodation, email Liam Riordan, associate professor of history at UMaine, at email@example.com.
March 28 is the registration deadline for schools and/or students to compete at Maine National History Day. Registration is available online. More information about Maine National History Day is available on the UMaine website and on Facebook.
More than 60 summer camps from throughout Maine are expected to participate in the University of Maine’s third annual Summer Camp Fair for Kids 4–7 p.m. March 12 in the New Balance Student Recreation Center on campus.
Camp representatives will be available to provide informational materials and answer questions about the variety of programming available for youngsters and teens.
Formerly known as the Camp Bangor Fair, hosted by the United Way of Eastern Maine and associated with the Camp Bangor Program, the event typically has a turnout of more than 500. Parents and children interested in local and regional summer camps are encouraged to attend.
The fair is free and open to the public. All attendees will receive a free day pass to UMaine’s New Balance Student Recreation Center.
During March, the University of Maine Singers will perform five free public concerts in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Dennis Cox, UMaine director of choral activities, will lead the 70-member select choir on its annual spring trip, which will also include daytime performances at elementary, middle and high schools.
The public portion of the tour debuts at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10, at First Baptist Church of Bar Harbor, Maine. Several Singers will be performing in and near their hometowns throughout the tour, including Katherine Parsons of Bar Harbor and Sarah Stanley of Southwest Harbor on opening night.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, the Singers perform at the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine. Eleven Singers hail from the vicinity — Sierra Ventura and Sarah Bowen of Belfast, Rosaleen Erwin of Brunswick, Morgan Cates of Camden, Dana Douglass of Phippsburg, Kristen Alberts of South China, Alecia Griffin of Randolph, Greg Kritzman of Topsham, Paige Courtney of Somerville and Sara Phillips of Thorndike.
The concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, is at the First Parish Church of Christ in Saco, Maine, which is the hometown of Singers Olivia Bean, Philip Kolmar, Cain Landry, Forrest Tripp and Katherine Lees and close to Allen Prout’s hometown of Biddeford.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, the Singers perform at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton, N.H., hometown of member Robert Laraway and adjacent to Northfield, hometown of Victoria Eaton. The tour concludes with a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, March 14, at Lasell College in Newton, Mass. Singers who hail from nearby communities are Hope Milne of Hamilton, Rebecca Bylaska-Davies of Worcester and Stephanie Beatrice of Ashburnham.
Every four years, the Singers perform abroad; in 2012, the group sang in Switzerland, Italy and Austria. Auditions are held each fall for the Singers, nearly half of who pursue majors outside of music.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
University of Maine students in an advanced art education course are facilitating an art-making and fundraising project to aid the purchase of musical instruments for a Bangor organization that works with youth who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Students in Constant Albertson’s Topics in Art Education class are teaching teen Shaw House residents how to use art in a beneficial way. UMaine students are helping the youth make ceramic pins that will be sold for $5 at The Rock and Art Shop and Metropolitan Soul in downtown Bangor. All proceeds will go to the Shaw House to buy instruments for the many residents who take music lessons from the staff and volunteers.
The UMaine students involved in the art service learning project are Charlotte Gaylord, Julie Roach and Lowansa Sprague Thompson. The goal of the future art teachers is to work collaboratively in the community to spread knowledge while inspiring creative, positive action.
Last year, students in the class created and sold ceramic mugs to support educational programs for children at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Alton, Maine.